What Are We Learning from SF Park?
I know its early, but I harken back to my post in December. From that post – a quote:
SFPark is an innovative, federally-supported performance parking pilot program. But it will adjust meter rates in its seven pilot areas this month—the third adjustment since the program’s launch in 2010.
Each time San Francisco has adjusted the rates, the spread between the least expensive and the most expensive blocks has increased. After this latest adjustment, parking rates will vary from a low of $0.75 up to $4.25/hr. To date, the most crowded blocks have typically continued to be crowded even after adjusting the prices upward, while under-occupied blocks have not filled up even after dropping the price.
Are we asking too much? I have wondered for some time if ‘the word’ can get out and people will truly understand the difference between parking on one block than on another. Let’s face it, on street parking is not designed for workers who drive into the area and park all day and get to know the pricing of local parking. They should be parking off street. The folks we want to reach are those looking for a space near their destination. The ones who cruise around and around and who would be helped by a space made free by market based pricing. The problem is how does this person know what the price of parking on the street is at a particular point in time.
San Francisco would say that they should check their smart phone and get all that information. Well, yeah, but you are asking them to break the law and fiddle with their phone while they are driving. The solution is of course having signs around telling folks just what it costs to park on a particular street. If I knew that I could walk a couple of blocks and save $8, maybe I would do so. Or maybe not. However if I don’t have that information, then I will just park, lock, go to the meter, pay what it says, and be done with it, probably cursing the high price of parking in San Francisco, but then everything is pricy in SF so it is to be expected.
If my reaction is this, then the system has not worked, has only increased revenues, and done nothing for reducing cruising, congestion, or the like.